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Prostate Suffering: THE WAKE-UP CALL

The diagnosis of prostate problems shakes many men out of complacency about their health. Prostate cancer, the final stage of prostate suffering, is already the most common cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer death after lung cancer. This year an estimated 165,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the United States, twice the number diagnosed in 1985. Is it a new epidemic or does the increase reflect improved laboratory tests such as the PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen test)? No doubt prostate problems are being diagnosed earlier due to PSA tests, ultrasounds and IVP (intravenous pyelogram) tests. As usual, cancer does not discriminate between the rich and poor, the famous and the every day person. High profile cases of men Famous men like Frank Zappa and Bob Dole (strange bedfellows!) suffering or dying from prostate cancer have raised the profile of this stealth bomber among men. Keep in mind that a higher PSA is not a death sentence: it can merely reflect benign enlargement which does not require surgery.

Western Medical Approach
The overwhelming concern about prostate cancer is its potential for spreading to the bones (especially the lumbar spine), the lungs and lymph nodes. As long as it is truly confined, it is completely curable. And this is usually the case when it is first detected. But what do most urologists propose even when the tumor is benign? The recommended primary treatments will be surgery and radiation. But the honest urologist will tell you that you stand a 60% chance of impotence after surgery (despite some of the newer "nerve-sparing" techniques), while the chances of impotence decrease to "only" about 30% with radiation. That's not all. You may also lose bladder control and dribble urine, a possibility estimated at 3% but higher in my experience. Heart and lung problems, urine blockage, and rectum and bowel injury are other, though infrequent, consequences of the above therapeutic techniques.

Considering the above odds, I would recommend that men pause to consider natural preventive and curative approaches and whether it the growing incidence of prostate enlargement just reflects better detection methods or whether there are risk factors at play. Since many of you men will be confronted with this problem-it will strike most of you if you live long enough-it is worthwhile to have a plan for prevention and treatment. This becomes even more urgent when we consider the rampant disarray in the field of prostate cancer, where experts disagree and nothing seems certain. Recent surveys indicate that urologists in the United States capriciously differ in recommending radical prostatectomy (total prostate removal). You are three times more likely to have this procedure if you live on the West Coast rather than the East Coast. The prostate patient's quandary is that while treatment won't prolong his life by much, it can make him impotent. Even top urologists admit that aggressive treatment does not make a significant contribution to life span (only about a year more to the average patient's life expectancy) but that it can lessen the patient's quality of life (except for reducing the pain). What's more, the new sophisticated diagnostic tests turn up many small tumors that probably would not prove fatal if left alone. The United States is practically alone in its enthusiasm for aggressive treatment, while other countries often resort to "waiting and watching," and the mortality rate of the treated and untreated group is about the same. This knowledge should stop you from being rushed into radical surgery without a full understanding of the possible outcome.

However, I think we can do better than "watch and wait." Instead of leaving the body's Vital Energy to fight the proliferating cancer alone, we can use homeopathy and supplements to support our Vital Energy.

Prevention with Supplements
Supplements play a great role in the prevention of prostate suffering. First is Vitamin A: Investigators at the National Cancer Institute found that men with significantly lower than normal Vitamin A levels had twice the risk for prostate cancer than those with normal levels. Vitamin A in the form of beta carotene is safe and effective. A daily dose of 25,000 I.U. is sufficient. Zinc has been shown to reduce the size of the prostate and to reduce symptomatology in the majority of patients. Take 50 mg elemental zinc a day. A great source of natural zinc is pumpkin seeds. Amino acids like glycine, alanine and glutamic acid have been shown to relieve many symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Urgency and frequency of urination is markedly decreased under the influence of these amino acids. Take 3 capsules daily. Effective botanicals are also available. The best known is the saw palmetto berry (also known as Sabal serrulata), native to Florida. These berries were used to make a homeopathic remedy for the prostate long before their herbal use by holistic physicians. This remedy is indicated for frequent urination at night, painful ejaculation, impotence and acute prostatitis.

Finding the Homeopathic Remedy for You
One of the strengths of homeopathy to have available many different remedies which can be individualized to the patient. Homeopathic remedies are tailored to the whole symptom complex and can even give clues as to why the tumor developed. What are the questions a homeopathic physician asks a prostate sufferer? In addition to the usual thorough intake, certain questions are added. Is there a history of urethritis, gonorrhea, orchitis, genital warts? In homeopathy these conditions reflect the presence of the sycotic miasm, which in a sense is like homeopathy's analogue to a genetic marker for prostate tumors. How was the patient's sexual life and how is it now?

One of the causes of malignant prostate cancer a sudden stop in a normal or intense sexual life. This might happen when an older man's wife dies, or he changes his lifestyle and decides to abstain from sex because of religious or spiritual reasons. Religious people, like priests, who choose to be celibate suppress their sexual desire and, following homeopathic principles, are thereby more prone to prostate cancer.

According to Nature's Laws, whenever you suppress an outlet (for emotions or physical symptoms), the disorder is driven inwards which can bring hopeless inertia in the patient. Deliberately suppressing the sexual outlet increases the chances of prostate cancer in men, and uterus/cervix and ovarian cancer in women.

Homeopathy and Prostate Cancer
What are the symptoms of malignant prostate cancer? They are very characteristic. First, there is a constant urge to urinate with little or no result. The patient gets up at night because of a strong urge but in spite of pushing hard, he only produces a few drops. This can be anxiety-provoking, causing perspiration and headaches. After some time the exhausted patient returns to bed, only to be awakened again later by the same nagging urge with the same frustrating result. Another unusual specific symptom is the loss of prostatic fluid caused by merely touching a woman (i.e. the older man who complains about losing fluid from the penis when he touches his wife).

An enlarged and hardened prostate gland (even if only part of the gland is hard) strongly indicates a possible malignancy. If there is also the combination of ineffectual urging to urinate and vertigo from lying down, getting up from or turning in bed, the remedy Conium (spotted hemlock) will be highly effective. As already mentioned, the decision as to whether the patient will undergo radiation and/or surgery is a very personal one made by the (hopefully well-informed) sufferer. But whatever the choice, Conium can be used, even after a prostatectomy is performed. Conium is usually needed when the cancer arises from a change in sexual habits (a sudden cessation of what had been a normal part of hte man's life). Consult a well-trained homeopathic physician for the potencies and follow-up. Do not institute this treatment for yourself! The doctor might do well to order a new ultrasound 6 months after the homeopathic treatment to gauge the results.

Remedies for benign tumors
For prostate problems linked to a simple benign enlargement, homeopathy has a rich arsenal of remedies specific to the patient's complaints. One of the best is Clematis, typically needed when the man has the sensation that the bladder is never empty. The patient complains that there is always some urine left (usually the first indication of prostate gland problems). Another symptom is the feeble urine stream due to the constrictionof the urethra. Frequently, there is involuntary dribbling or loss of urine, so that the patient has to stay at the toilet for a while in order not to wet his trousers. This patient can also suffer from a burning pain at the cessation of urination. The above symptoms are often found in the patient who once had inflammation of the testes (orchitis) and/or epididymitis. Clematis is indicated especially when the patient has a history of gonorrhea being "cured" (driven deeper inwards) with antibiotics.

Another excellent remedy is Selenium (in homeopathic doses). The dominating characteristic is the physical and mental debility and exhaustion of the patient. A classical example is the patient with an increased sexual desire and the inability to have an erection (Selenium can be used as an erection remedy). At the same time, he experiences physical weakness from the slightest exertion, also obvious after the few times he manages to have sex. He loses prostatic fluid during stool or sleep. Some very specific symptoms calling for Selenium are hoarseness and hair loss on any part of the body (including eyelashes and pubic hair). An important note is that "Selsun" shampoo can counteract this remedy (because it contains selenium) and should be avoided when taking homeopathic Selenium!

When we mention digitalis we think of a heart remedy. Yet homeopathic Digitalis is the most important remedy for urine retention caused by an enlarged prostate. There is a strong desire to urinate but it is impossible for the patient to do so. He also feels his heart beating in his bladder and has a constant urge to urinate (tenesmus) at night. Then he has the strange feeling that the bladder is always full, even after urination. The above symptoms should alert the vigilant physician to the use of digitalis. Zinc is often used as an antioxidant together with Vitamin C, E and beta carotene to fight free radicals. Zincum metallicum, homeopathic zinc, is very specific for the man who can only urinate when sitting on the toilet. It is impossible for him to urinate while standing. Classically, his symptoms are also aggravated by drinking wine. Another remedy, one giving another etiology for prostate enlargement, is Staphysagria. The causalities for this remedy are sexual excesses and humiliation situations like verbal, physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Specifically these men can be impotent with their wives, yet have an erection when they masturbate. Often they have strong sexual dreams and thoughts when in bed, forcing them to masturbate in order to fall asleep. Uncontrolled itching of the testes may be symptomatic. There are many more specific prostate remedies such as Pulsatilla, Causticum, Nitric acid, Cannabis sativa and Thuja. The homeopathic physician will determine which one fits each patient's symptom complex.

The message is clear. Before you are rushed into an operation, explore all options and make informed conscientious decisions. Consult a trained homeopathic physician who can determine the right remedy for your prostate suffering. Don't forget: nothing can beat prevention.